Depression is one of the most prevailing health conditions of the 21st century, affecting over 300 million people worldwide. The illness does not discriminate. It is a leading cause of workplace disability and represents a large financial burden for many families. Consequently, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, under the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases’ mental illness funding initiative have co-funded a five-year implementation project to optimize clinical care.
Stargardt’s disease is a rare inherited ocular illness that affects the Canadian population. According to Fighting Blindness Canada, 1 in 8,000 Canadians suffer from Stargardt’s, a degenerative ocular illness that ultimately leads to vision loss. Typically, patients are diagnosed with the disease by the age of 13, and most experience progressive vision loss as they get older. It is not uncommon for patients to develop complete blindness by the age of 35. Still today, despite the many clinical trials taking place, there is no cure for Stargardt’s disease.
“We wanted to understand what people’s reactions to a bot might be in different types of workplace situations,” says Julia. “Will people trust the system the same way they trust a person? What kinds of challenges or barriers might arise when implementing chatbots as a tool in the workplace?”
The new tool uses a deep-learning computer vision system and motion-classification algorithms to capture events such as falls in real time, alert caregivers and give health-care professionals the information they need for immediate triage.
The system—developed in part by the Multimedia Research Centre led by Irene Cheng in the Department of Computing Science—transfers real-time video to an autonomous computer vision lockbox. If an event is detected, the system alerts a specified caregiver and provides a redacted video of the event.
This is what the team at the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHEOS) is curious to explore. And this summer, they’ve engaged Cianan Thomson, a Mitacs research intern from Deakin University in Australia, to help the CHEOS team understand existing tools, as well as the opportunities they might provide for a novel approach.
The issue has attracted researchers from multiple disciplines, including Danielle Benesch, who is examining how perceptions of free will could impact our response to the overdose crisis. Danielle, a Mitacs intern from the Universität Osnabrück in Germany, has studied free will and decision-making for years. She travelled to Canada this summer to work on a project, supervised by Professor Eric Racine of the Université de Montréal, to research the relationship between perceptions of free will and addiction.
Canada has always welcomed refugees, but with the recent increase in volume the infrastructure has struggled to keep up. Small cities often lack sufficient resources, while refugees lack the skillset to integrate on their own. Sarah Alkholb has travelled from Saudi Arabia to Saskatoon this summer to address one facet of this problem. Working with Professor Hassan Vatanparast, she is researching the food security crisis facing newly landed refugee populations in Canada.
A research team at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi has asked just that, and are developing a ‘smart’ insole for shoes that will be able to provide navigational feedback — such as a pulse or vibration — to the wearer. Having already built a prototype, this summer they’ve engaged an international research intern for her insight into smart fabrics that could bring it one step closer to reality.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) — responsible for safeguarding the health of people, animals, and plants in our country — recognizes that scientists do a much better job of identifying and dealing with biological threats if they work together.
That’s why Angelica jumped at the opportunity to research physical literacy programs for kids with CHD through a Mitacs internship. She partnered with Sportball, a non-competitive sports education organization that offers methodology-based instruction for kids aged 16 months to 12 years old. Sportball programs across Canada work on developing children’s physical literacy while focusing on important sport, social, and motor skills.